Hammond: I will ban military chiefs who break lobbying rules

 

Retired military commanders could be barred from the corridors of power after the MoD launched an inquiry into claims that some of them have used their access to lobby for lucrative arms deals. The president of the Royal British Legion, a decorated Falklands veteran, may become a high-profile casualty in the recriminations which have followed the revelations.

Lieutenant-General Sir John Kiszely was one of a group of former senior officers who were secretly filmed apparently boasting of their closeness to ministers, current heads of the military and MPs. He is alleged to have said he could use his position at the organisation for business purposes. He would be meeting the Prime Minister, the Defence Secretary, and the head of the British military at a Remembrance Sunday ceremony and offered the possibility of "commercial people" being present as the Legion's guests.

The Defence Secretary, Philip Hammond, said yesterday he would not hesitate to "shut the door" if it were proved that they had been using their positions to lobby in breach of rules.

The undercover sting, by The Sunday Times newspaper, also focused on Lord Dannatt, the former Chief of General Staff; Lieutenant-General Richard Applegate, the former chief of Army procurement; and the former Fleet Commander, Admiral Sir Trevor Soar. They had been approached by reporters, one of them a young woman, pretending to be representatives of a South Korean arms manufacturer.

Last night, the Legion said it had launched an investigation into the allegations against Lt-Gen Kiszely, the result of which will be sent to the organisation's trustees. Chris Simpkins, the director-general, stressed that there was "a code of conduct that addresses the issue of conflict of interest". He said the honorary position of national president was covered by the code and should not be used for commercial gain.

Lt-Gen Kiszely said: "I have always kept my role as national president of the Royal British Legion separate from my business interests."

Mr Hammond said: "There are many, many reasons why it is sensible for the MoD to maintain contact with retired officers... but if they are abusing that access for commercial purposes then we will have to tighten it up or maybe even shut it down."

All four former commanders have denied any wrongdoing.

Sources close to Lt-Gen Applegate said he had informed the MoD about the work he was carrying out on behalf of an Israeli defence company and had been cleared to continue doing so. "At no stage did I lobby or agree to a covert political lobbying campaign."

Lord Dannatt acknowledged that he offered to "facilitate conversations" but rejected an £8,000 monthly fee offer, insisting that he had "no inclination" to undertake any lobbying that would contravene the rules.

Line of fire: generals under investigation

Lord [Richard] Dannatt, former head of the Army Alleged to have offered to sidestep a ban on discussion of a £400m contract by speaking to a top MoD civil servant, an old school friend. He denied breach of the rules and said he rejected an £8,000 monthly fee offer.

Lieutenant-General Sir John Kiszely, President of the Royal British Legion General Kiszely, 64, a former director of the Defence Academy, is said to have offered to use his current role to push his client's agenda with the PM and other senior figures. He denies wrongdoing, and says he has always kept his British Legion role separate from his business interests.

Admiral Sir Trevor Soar Former Commander in Chief of the Fleet is reported to have offered to break a two-year ban on lobbying imposed on personnel leaving the service after being asked to work for a South Korean company. He denies breaking rules, insisting he had official approval.

Lieutenant-General Richard Applegate, Quartermaster-General Said to have admitted a secret lobbying campaign for a £500m military programme on behalf of an Israeli arms company despite being barred from lobbying. Sources said he had been cleared by the MoD.

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Arts and Entertainment
Judi Dench appeared at the Hay Festival to perform excerpts from Shakespearean plays
tvJudi Dench and Hugh Bonneville join Benedict Cumberbatch in BBC Shakespeare adaptations
Life and Style
fashion David Beckham fronts adverts for his underwear collection
Arts and Entertainment
Exhibition at the Centre Pompidou in Metz - 23 May 2012
art
Sport
Is this how Mario Balotelli will cruise into Liverpool?
football
News
Ronahi Serhat, a PKK fighter, in the Qandil Mountains in Iraqi Kurdistan
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Alfred Molina, left, and John Lithgow in a scene from 'Love Is Strange'
film
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Soft Developer (4.0, C#, Windows Services, Sockets, LINQ, WCF)

£65000 - £75000 per annum: Harrington Starr: .NET Developer (4.0, C#, Windows ...

C# Developer -Winforms, VB6 - Trading Systems - Woking

£1 per annum: Harrington Starr: A leading financial software house with its He...

C #Programmer (.Net 4.0/4.5/ C#) -Hertfordshire-Finance

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: C #Developer (.Net 4.0/4.5/ C#, A...

JQuery Developer JQuery, UI, Tomcat, Java - Woking

£1 per annum: Harrington Starr: JQuery Developer JQuery, UI, Tomcat, Java - Tr...

Day In a Page

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home